HOW TO SERVE UP THE WORLD’S MOST AFFORDABLE LUXURIOUS COCKTAIL PARTY
New research reveals Aussies are ditching the outdated, overdone dinner party in favour of hosting a boujee, scintillating cocktail night to socialise with friends.
As we head into the spring entertaining season, Woodford Reserve has teamed up with interior designer and stylist, Briellyn Turton, and Australia’s best cocktail bar, Maybe Sammy, to help you turn home into the hottest bar in town – with some affordable tips and tricks to bring in a taste of luxury.
How to guide
BRING THE BAR HOME
Picture the night as a whole, are you imagining minimalist chic or luxe contemporary? Drinks and service aside, atmosphere is the most important consideration you’ll need to make in setting up your space.
The best way to streamline your styling is to select your favourite bar for inspiration and find three atmospheric attributes you want to replicate. What flowers do they use? Do they use special glassware? Starting here will ensure consistency through every touchpoint – from the type of serving platter you use, to the playlist you put on.
SELECT YOUR SPIRIT OF THE EVENING
To pull off the ultimate luxury cocktail night, there is one detail that cannot be wrong. The cocktail. In keeping with your luxe contemporary theme, pick a premium spirit like Woodford Reserve which can be the foundation of many recipes . With 28% of Aussies revealing that not having a wide selection of alcohol is a barrier to hosting, an easy way to combat this is keep the spirit the same, but the recipes versatile. This means you can spend less, whilst keeping your drinks interesting.
STAND OUT WITH A SIGNATURE COCKTAIL
Now your spirit is selected, consider the serve. Creating a signature cocktail can be a great way to add a personal feel to your evening, with over a third of Aussies believing that curating a personalised experience is the appeal of hosting at home. Create a delicious flavour to carry through all the details. From the nibble pairings, to your colour styling choices. Centering it around the drink created for your guests makes it feel designed for them.
Paolo Maffietti of Maybe Sammy has designed 3 luxurious new cocktails which can be easily prepared at home for less than $10 per guest (at 20 guests) here.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A GOOD GARNISH
The humble garnish can be used to elevate your cocktail from a quick chopped up wedge, to a bar standard aesthetic treat. For bourbon, orange peel can be crafted by using a citrus peeler. Peel a long, thin piece of orange rind at least 4 inches long. Carefully coil around a toothpick or something similar. Hold for about 10 seconds, then hang over the edge of your glass. Make sure to pre-batch ingredients and everything you need to make a cocktail. This will allow you to serve the highest quality drinks at volume and with speed. Preparation is key!
AFFORDABLE LUXURY WITH APPETISERS
Bar worthy cocktails deserve bar worthy food. Charcuterie spreads and canapes are a great go-to. You can scale the portions, bring out your colour scheme (pale golds and oranges, inspired by your hero cocktail) so they look as good as they taste! Embrace platters and small bowls spread around the table instead of one classic board to encourage guests to roam the room. For something that looks luxe, compliments the colour, tastes incredible but is low effort to prepare, offer trout roe & creme fraiche on toasted waffle.
SWITCH OFF YOUR OVERHEAD LIGHTS AND WARM WITH CANDLES
You want to ensure that the lighting for the evening is ambient, warm and cosy. With bright overhead lights taking away from the overall atmosphere, turn them off and consider placing lamps in the room. If this isn’t casting enough light, using candles can help to subtly uplift the light levels, working as an affordable dimmer.
LET YOUR GUESTS GET COMFORTABLE
The key to hosting like a pro is all in the details. Little signals that make the space feel lived in lets guests know that they are welcome to get comfortable and treat your home as their own, the moment they walk through the door. Serve your cheese with a slice already taken, leave a dining chair pulled out, and open a coffee table book, encouraging your guests to flip through its pages, interacting with the space. All these little signs say to the guests ‘ I’m inviting you in to enjoy my home’.
ADD SOME THEATRICS TO THE DRINKS SERVICE
Every great bar incorporates some level of theatrics into its service (have we all seen the famous Maybe Sammy bubble gun?!). Surprising your guests with a roaming drinks trolley or bar cart is a fantastic way to make your mark as the host-with-the-most. This means not only creating a memorable moment for your friends, but means you can take drinks to your guests, without them lifting a finger, maybe even mix or shake their cocktail right in front of them to really impress.
MUSIC SETS THE MOOD
Music is one of your most powerful tools when setting the atmosphere of the night, so selecting the perfect playlist is important. The ultimate music hack is to pick a bar whose vibe you want to emulate, and search their name on Spotify, almost always you can find the venue’s playlist, preloaded with the perfect tunes to carry you through from first drinks to final hours of the evening. Try a Maybe Sammy playlist here, so you can use the sounds of the best bar in Sydney.
WINDING DOWN THE EVENING
If you have ever hosted, you will know the pain. Bottles are dry, but a few lingering guests haven’t quite received the message. If you want to subtly suggest the soiree is over, begin to blow out the candles you have laid out. Lower the music till it’s comfortable to turn it off and move the glasses out of peoples reach. This way, people can see you’re looking to wrap up a very successful party!
Most of all, keep it simple! A great night is created by the people you surround yourself with and is simply improved by the addition of good food, sophisticated styling and of course, delicious cocktails.